Recently I have tried out Smartsheet on one of my projects. To sum it up, it is a web based collaborative project management tool similar to Microsoft project with a few noticeable differences straight off the shelf. Check it out here: https://www.smartsheet.com/.
I have been using Smartsheet to plan out projects exactly as one would with Microsoft Project, including tasks, parent and child tasks, dependencies, assigning resources, tracking % complete etc:
Where Smartsheet really shines is its collaboration features. Unlike Microsoft Project, Smartsheet allows anyone to collaborate on a project, “Smartsheet” without the need to purchase a license. How often do you work with clients or team members that do not have a Microsoft Project license? This feature alone has been one of the reasons that I initially tested out Smartsheet. The ability to share project plans with team members and external clients is extremely valuable in the project management space. I for one, value what I like to refer to as Extreme Transparency(Another blog post to come) where the more transparency stakeholders have on a project the easier your communications plan becomes and the easier project management becomes.
Here is a quick tutorial video on sharing features with Smartsheet:
Another key feature I find useful in Smartsheet is the ability to tag users (anyone you have shared your smartsheet with) against tasks. This is great for adding progress comments on specific tasks or for asking to clarify items. I have used Azure DevOps functionality in the past on projects I have delivered using a Hybrid delivery methodology where tagging and commenting on Tasks on a Sprint Board reduced email fatigue tremendously as well as provided a single source of truth for all project communications:
Speaking of collaboration, I use Microsoft Teams for all of my projects artefacts and day to day team communications. The great thing about using Teams is the ability to add a Tab to your Teams Channels to include Smartsheet. This is is only available to the Enterprise licensing version of Smartsheet but if your organisation has the license it is an awesome way to centralise your project plans for your team members. With the free version or single license version of Smartsheet you do not have the ability to add it as a tab in Microsoft Teams however you still can share sheets with users which they can access via a web browser.
As I continue to use Smartsheet I am sure I will uncover more useful ways of using the tool and will be sure to post my thoughts here.
For additional resources on smartsheet, check out there YouTube channel here for tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/user/SmartSheet
Happy project managing!